Florida State Seminoles

Revamping NIL In Florida

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Less than three years after Florida enacted a law to help athletes and universities get a head start in the profitable NIL space, now the legislature is ramping up efforts to make sure those groups don’t get left behind.

When the State House and Senate convene next week for a two-week session, one of the main topics tackled will be revamping Florida’s existing NIL law.

“In 2020, Florida was proactive in creating legislation which governs how college athletes can be compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses,” House Speaker Paul Renner wrote in a Friday memo to House members and staff.

“However, the recent enactment of NCAA regulations regarding athlete compensation has put many states with such laws at a disadvantage, causing a need for Florida to revisit our current law. We recognize the need to address this issue in a timely manner so our collegiate teams can remain competitive.”

The 2020 Florida law made it permissible for college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, but it prohibited coaches, staff and other representatives of universities from being part of the process.

That became an issue when the NCAA subsequently ruled that all athletes could earn money from NIL deals as long as they followed their state laws, which meant those in Florida and a handful of other states would actually be at a disadvantage.

Several states promptly repealed their state laws once that happened, but two bills in Florida stalled during the 2022 session.

The new House legislation will be referred to the Education and Employment Committee, according to Renner’s memo. The Senate version will go to the Post-Secondary Education Committee.

Virtually, all college coaches claim it has led to widespread tampering and even more illegal recruiting than usual, and many programs worry about the effect it is having on locker room chemistry.

At the same time, people also believe it is long overdue that college athletes have the right to earn money through marketing agreements and other above-board business opportunities.

The proposal by Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-Lighthouse Point, would align Florida law with those in other states with schools that compete with Florida universities, which generated $1.1 billion dollars in revenue last year, according to a House analysis.

This Bill would allow schools to set up space on campus for NIL entities to meet athletes and for university employees to introduce athletes to companies willing to pay them to use their name and likeness.

When the NCAA issued new NIL guidelines last October to allow schools to have a more active role in connecting athletes with NIL entities, Florida schools — such as the University of Florida, University of Central Florida and Florida State University — suddenly found themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

The Bill specifically states that a school is not required to identify or facilitate NIL opportunities for students, or that an NIL deal qualifies a student as a university employee.

Also, they amended the proposal shielding schools and coaches from liability related to damages resulting from routine decisions — like benching a player — because schools have sovereign immunity.

The proposal has two more committee stops before it is introduced to the House floor.

As always, the unintended consequences could be problematic. On its face, it’s much better they are in charge of managing the brand and not relying on outside or non-auditable parties.

You have to assume that this will lead to some sort of mutually agreed salary cap by conferences at some point down the road.

I believe this will have universities explaining why they are not using new TV revenues and other income sources to pony up for 5 stars, rather than asking their alumni/booster base to take on the additional burden of NIL.

Shuffling The Deck

By: Garrison Ryfun

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

With the ACC going division-less in 2023, the championship will now be played by the top two teams in the conference, instead of the winners of each division.

Since the conference is going division-less, teams will now play what is described as a 3-5-5 schedule.

This means that from at least 2023 to 2026, ACC teams will have three primary opponents and a rotation of the other ten teams in the conference.

The ACC guarantees that through this new scheduling format, each team will have a home and away game against all 13 other teams in this four-year window.

Though not all that common, this will prevent a championship game played by a 7-5 or 6-6 winner of either the Coastal or Atlantic division.

Once again, the divisions will not exist anymore but every team will be locked into three specific opponents.

Here are the primary opponents for each team in the ACC:

Boston College: Miami (FL), Pittsburgh, and Syracuse

Clemson: Florida State, Georgia Tech, and NC State

Duke: North Carolina, NC State, and Wake Forest

Florida State: Clemson, Miami, and Syracuse

Georgia Tech: Clemson, Louisville, and Wake Forest

Louisville: Georgia Tech, Miami (FL), and Virginia

Miami (FL): Boston College, Florida State, and Louisville

North Carolina: Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia

NC State: Clemson, Duke, and North Carolina

Pittsburgh: Boston College, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech

Syracuse: Boston College, Florida State, and Pittsburgh

Virginia: Louisville, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech: Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Wake Forest

Wake Forest: Duke, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech

Notre Dame, though not an official member of the conference for football, will still play their contractually obligated five ACC opponents under this new system.

This move just makes sense for the health of the conference.

In the upcoming age of super conferences, with Texas and Oklahoma moving to the SEC and USC and UCLA making their move to the Big Ten, having the two best teams in your conference title game will only help with national perception for the top of your conference.

It will already be hard enough to convince teams like Florida State and Clemson to not look elsewhere during this era. Super conferences will only create more revenue, especially in the television space for their member teams.

This is a step forward, albeit small, for the conference, and could give fans some fun in-season rematches in the championship game for years to come.

The biggest problem the ACC has left is figuring out how to navigate college football in this upcoming era.

Convincing Notre Dame, whose contract with NBC expires in 2025, and another high-profile team to join the conference is the next big step the ACC has to take to remain relevant in the football space.

War Chief

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Most Florida State fans and media expected to see improvement from the FSU football team in 2022; few could have honestly predicted that the Seminoles would go 10-3 with wins over the likes of Florida, Miami, LSU and Oklahoma after their lackluster 2021.

Coming into the 2022 season, it would be Jordan Travis’ first year as a full-time starter but his third year in the system. On top of that, it would be Travis’ first opportunity to be the unquestioned leader of the Seminoles’ offense, which comes with large potential upside.

Travis not only emerged as Florida State’s best starting quarterback since Jameis Winston, but one of the very best in the country.

In leading the Seminoles to a 10-3 record, Travis completed 226 of 353 passes (64.0 percent) for 3,214 yards and 24 touchdowns with five interceptions. He also rushed for 417 yards and five touchdowns and even hauled in a touchdown catch.

Travis was named second-team All-ACC. He showed great improvement as a passer and appeared completely confident in his third season in Norvell’s offense.

Since the Seminoles didn’t have a proven backup, some worried that the season could be derailed at any moment.

Fortunately for FSU, backup QB Tate Rodemaker showed great composure and led the Seminoles to a 35-31 win over Louisville.

Rodemaker’s stellar performance in a hostile environment, along with Travis’ ability to rebound quickly from injury is what alleviated most of those concerns.

After Travis’s start against Boston College, it turned out he would remain healthy for the rest of the year, and play in all 13 games.

Based on Travis’ performance and Rodemaker’s improvement as a redshirt sophomore, the Seminoles discovered one of the best quarterback situations in college football by the end of the season.

Travis didn’t waste much time in announcing that he would return and he already is appearing on some early Heisman predictions. Rodemaker and AJ Duffy are also expected to be back, and the Seminoles also will bring in freshman Brock Glenn, a four-star prospect from Memphis.

Travis not only led Florida State to its first 10-win season since 2016, but according to Pro Football Focus, he was the best Power 5 quarterback in the nation.

The way Jordan Travis played in the second half of this season, and with the moves the Seminoles are making in player retention and in the transfer takes, I think Florida State is poised to take another big step next season.

Frantic Atlantic

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We are going to take a look at the ACC Atlantic division and predict how the teams will do this season.

#7 Syracuse: Dino Babers has had one winning season out of six at Syracuse. That includes 15 conference wins out of 50 ACC games.

The Orange return one of the nation’s top running backs in Sean Tucker (1,496 yards) but big progress in the passing game is needed under new play-caller Robert Anae.

Quarterback Garrett Shrader (781 rushing yards & 14 TDs) threw for less than 100 yards in three of his last four starts.

#6 Louisville: Quarterback Malik Cunningham was one of the best dual-threat players in the country last year and he’s back in 2022.

He was a 62% passer a year ago, throwing for 2,734 yards and 18 touchdowns to only 6 interceptions, while also rushing for over 1,000 yards and 20 additional touchdowns, both top 10 numbers nationally.

He lost a few receivers that transferred but the Cardinals also had some talented players transfer into the program. Wide receivers Tyler Hudson (Central Arkansas) and Dee Wiggins (Miami) should be good playmakers on the outside.

Tight end Marshon Ford (49 receptions) has a chance to be an All-ACC first-team pick.

They also return four starters on the offensive line.

#5 Boston College: The Eagles started 4-0 last season before the wheels fell off and they lost four consecutive games.

They finished at 6-6 and won just one ACC game at Chestnut Hill.

Quarterback Phil Jurkovec went down in Week 2 and he didn’t return until November. He’ll be back this season with running back Pat Garwo III and receiver Zay Flowers. They only return one starter on the offensive line so that is a big concern.

They return 7 starters on defense and they only gave up 22.2 points a game last fall.

#4 Florida State: The Seminoles made progress in head coach Mike Norvell’s second year in ’21, finishing 5-7. I don’t expect them to compete for the conference title, but they win total should increase.

Quarterback Jordan Travis passed for 2,074 yards, 15 touchdowns and 6 picks.

The season opener is in New Orleans against LSU. The Tigers are coming off of a disappointing season with a new head coach so FSU can win that game and set the tone for the season.

#3 Wake Forest: QB Sam Hartman returns after leading the offense to 41 points per game last year.

The Demon Deacons have talented receivers like A.T. Perry, Taylor Morin and Donavan Greene. They also return four O line starters.

Defense is where they struggled the most in 2021 and it’s still a big question mark.

#2 NC State: The Wolfpack return 17 starters, which is the most of any team in the ACC from a squad that went 9-3 last fall.

That includes quarterback Devin Leary (35 TDs, 5 INTs) and one of the nation’s top linebacker units anchored by Payton Wilson and Drake Thomas.

They must replace its top two rushers (Bam Knight and Ricky Person) and elite left tackle Ikem Ekwonu. They averaged a league low 3.3 yards per rush in 2021.

#1 Clemson: The Tigers had their streak of consecutive ACC titles snapped at six and failed to make the CFB Playoff for the first time since ’14 last season.

Offense was a problem last year and five-star QB DJ Uiagalelei completed 55.6% of his passes for 9 TDs and 10 picks. In theory he can’t get any worse and if he plays better Clemson will be back in the Top 10.

 

 

New Path

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

McKenzie Milton has decided to officially hang up the cleats, announcing his retirement from football on Thursday.

The former UCF star returned from a catastrophic leg injury to play for Florida State in 2021, providing one great story last season.

But now that the 2022 NFL Draft has come and gone, Milton explained on Instagram that “my days of playing football have come to an end.”

Milton had a 27-6 record as a starter for UCF, after starting 4-6 his freshman season, he led the Knights to 23 consecutive wins. He contributed to two American Athletic Conference Championship teams, but that fateful injury in the regular season finale back in 2018 cost him the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Milton graduated from UCF and transferred to Florida State, where he was able to get on the field for six games with four starts during the 2021 season.

After participating in a pro day at Florida State and UCF this spring and not getting drafted, Milton can celebrate his recovery and still know he gave the NFL his best run.

In his announcement on social media, Milton made reference to the “what if” questions that might include whether his NFL Draft outcome might have been different without the injury. But he says his outlook is focused on his growing family, as he and his wife are expecting a boy this summer.

“A lot of people will wonder what if he never got hurt, what if this what if that? I asked myself those same questions for a while too,” Milton wrote in his announcement on social media. “It wasn’t until November 23, 2021 (three year anniversary of my injury) where I saw my son for the first time on ultrasound and then understood why I went through what I went through. It took three years to put it all in perspective. I get goosebumps thinking about how divine it is that three years to the day I get hurt, is the same day I see my baby boy for the first time.”

While Milton was working out with NFL aspirations, he simultaneously got active in the name, image and likeness business.

Dreamfield was founded in the summer of 2021 by two then-active college quarterbacks, McKenzie Milton and D’Eriq King. At the time, both had transferred to Florida schools after great AAC careers. Both said they wanted to take advantage of the new opportunity that was NIL.

Through their Dreamfield platform, they did things like releasing NFTs or non-fungible tokens, which are blockchain-based assets that allow college athletes to easily monetize their NIL, build their brand, and authentically connect with their fans in new and unique ways.

They also brought in other student-athletes, who wanted to use the platform to help find NIL deals.

Today, they offer numerous resources for the athletes who they’ve partnered with, including help with taxes, compliance, and brand building. Meanwhile, they help brands identify the right athletes for them and track the success of their campaigns.

They also exist to help boosters in the NIL era, as they try to begin crowdfunding and things of that nature.

Dreamfield works to bring student-athletes and brands together for the purposes of NIL. They do so without pairing up directly. Instead, they team up with the athletes themselves.

Among those athletes who they have teamed up with are Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham and Washington quarterback Michael Penix.

Now, with these new brands, they will be able to help those brands partner with more student-athletes in deals moving forward.

We may have seen the last of Milton on the gridiron, but he made his impact in college athletics.

Beating The Odds

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

McKenzie Milton had quite the college football journey. After breaking out at UCF, Milton suffered a gruesome leg injury and was thought to be in danger of never playing again.

However, he recovered and ended up transferring to Florida State, playing the 2021 season.

Milton had a unique helmet for the Hula Bowl, a postseason college football all-star game. Ironically, it is held in Orlando, Florida, home of the UCF Knights. Milton debuted his helmet, sporting both the UCF and Florida State logo on each side. As far as Milton’s future in football, he said he was holding out hope to make it in the NFL.

“Honestly I have no idea,” Milton told reporters when asked what is next for him. “To me, I shoot for the NFL. Hoping that opportunity will come, but we’ll see. It just depends..”

Later the reporter asked if a coaching career is in his future, Milton said his current focus is on playing at the next level, though he does anticipate entering the coaching industry when the time comes for him to hang up his cleats.

In total, Milton finished his college career with 9,458 yards, 75 touchdowns, 28 interceptions, a 61.3% completion percentage, 1,065 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns.

He led the Knights to a 27-6 record as a starter, including an undefeated 2017 season, and two American Athletic Conference championships.

The Hawaiian high school star suffered a catastrophic knee injury during the regular-season finale in 2018 which forced him to miss the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

After multiple surgeries and several years of rehabilitation, Milton took over as quarterback for UCF’s scout team.

After graduating from UCF and completing a long road to recovery, Milton transferred to Florida State to close out his college campaign. Appearing in 6 games for the Seminoles, Milton threw for 775 yards and 3 touchdowns to go along with 6 interceptions while making 4 starts.

Milton was named the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award winner, which honors the league’s ‘most courageous’ football player and is named for the former Wake Forest and Chicago Bears running back.

Florida State quarterback McKenzie Milton capped off a stellar college career by being named one of three winners of the 2021 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award on Tuesday.

Milton’s focus is now on the future, particularly one in the NFL, as he looks to make an impression on some of the 100 scouts on hand for this week’s game.

“You’ve just got to go out there and be yourself,” Milton said. “Perform as if thousands of people are watching, which is how it is in the game. So, it’s nothing different. “Everything you put on film is your job interview as well. So, it’s just trying to maximize every rep, even when I’m not in there, get mental reps, too. But it’s been a good learning experience for sure.”

Milton has no idea what’s in store for him, but he plans to participate in FSU’s Pro Day and possibly one at UCF. “I’m just hoping that opportunity comes,” he said. “It just depends on if it’s right for me and if it’s right for my family, so we’ll see.”

McKenzie Milton will be finishing his college football career where it all began: the Bounce House.

Dumpster fire

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As you look around the Southern college football landscape you see the Alabama, Clemson, Florida, and Georgia’s of the world playing a very good brand of football, but you can also look around and see some programs not performing very well.

We have a few programs in our geographical region that currently look like dumpster fires. Let’s take a look at my top five programs that have fallen on hard times.

 

  1. Georgia Tech: The Jackets were number one on this list two years ago. Now they are about remove themselves from lists like this. Georgia Tech is doing the right things to not be included on lists like this much longer.

Teams 1-4 on this list need to follow the Jacket blueprint. The Jackets land here as a motivational tool for 2021.

 

  1. Florida State: My how the mighty have fallen. This once proud football program has sunk to an all-time low.

Gone are the days of ruling the ACC with an iron fist, and now we see FSU backing out of playing home games against Clemson and using Covid-19 as an excuse after Clemson had already made the trip.

FSU used to be a recruiting machine and now they fight Georgia Southern and South Alabama for 3-star athletes.

FSU will be back eventually but how in the hell should a program of this magnitude ever appear on a list like this?  It cost Clemson $250K to travel to Tallahassee for a pre-game meal, but they got to see a top five dumpster fire in person.

 

  1. South Carolina: Are you starting to see a pattern of the SEC East yet?

South Carolina is a State with good high school football, Columbia is 80 miles from Charlotte and less than 3 hours from Atlanta. The recruiting base is there.

South Carolina’s biggest problem is that they are Clemson’s little brother and they can’t shake that label.

You mention that to the fan base and they get fighting mad. How can Clemson be so good and South Carolina be so bad currently? I just don’t get it and many football observers in the south don’t either.

Will Shane Beamer fix this dumpster fire?

 

  1. Vanderbilt: Vandy has never been very good in football. We all understand that the academic prestige of Vanderbilt presents some competitive challenges for this fine University.

Derek Mason has been fired and been replaced by Clark Lea from Notre Dame.

Vandy needs to get back to work of becoming a competitive football team. The Commodores did not win a football game in 2020, and decided they were just not going to show up and play Georgia in their final game of the season. That mentality alone has to go and makes Vandy a dumpster fire.

 

  1. Tennessee: How did we get here Vol fans? You are the biggest dumpster fire in college football currently. A ten-year-old boy and Tennessee fan asked his father “What is it like to beat Alabama dad?” Dad answered “I don’t know son we are Vol fans.”

Tennessee just suffered through the worst decade of football in its proud history. Six head coaches in 12 years.

Now apparently Tennessee has as many as 30 level 1 and level 2 major recruiting violations. Rumors of giving away cash in McDonald’s bags and so on.

Due to NCAA sanctions forthcoming it may be 2025-26 until Tennessee has a full complement of scholarships to offer (they could lose up to 30 over next 4 years).

This program is about to be on life support. Tennessee is having a mass exodus via the transfer portal.

Memphis is the best college football program in the State of Tennessee right now.

Damn, just damn, Big Orange nation you are the biggest dumpster fire in all of college football.

Florida Grades

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The college football season is over and Alabama has regained the throne.

For the Big Four in the State of Florida, its year-end report card time.

The biggest question when I go to grade these teams is expectations versus on field performance.

Florida State: The buzz surrounding Florida State Football has been steadily building with the arrival of Mike Norvell. The Seminoles kicked off the season against ACC rival Georgia Tech and ended with Duke.

FSU finished with three wins and six losses. The Noles had three games canceled due to COVID. The signature win was against number 5 North Carolina 31-28. Many fans were excited that the program had finally turned the corner and FSU football was back.

But a week later Louisville routed the Seminoles 48-16.

Florida State has long been considered one of the Elite programs in the country, but if last season is a gauge of the program’s direction, it is in big trouble.

Team stats: Passing 159 for 292 for 1,771 yards, ten touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Rushing 352 attempts for 1,799 yards and 19 touchdowns. Receiving 159 catches for 1,771 yards.  Defensively the Seminoles allowed 257 yards passing per game and 199 yards rushing per game.  FSU scored 232 points this season and allowed 324.

The few bright spots from this season were Jordan Travis, Lawrence Toafili, Amari Gainer and Emmett Rice.

Mike Norvell’s first season grade: F

UCF: The Knights entered 2020 with the goal of winning the AAC. That goal was not accomplished.

The Knights blew two big halftime leads to Tulsa and Memphis. That set the tone for the remainder of the season.

Central Florida finished with a 6-4 record but that did not meet the expectations of the program.

Offensively the Knights did put up record breaking numbers led by Sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel and wide receiver Marion Williams.

Gabriel was 248 for 413 for 3570 yards, 32 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.  Williams recorded 71 catches for 1039 yards and ten touchdowns.

UCF was very defensive in 2020. The Knights gave up 299 passing and 192 yards rushing (average per game).

In UCF’s four losses, the Knights allowed Memphis 41 first downs and over 700 yards of total offense, they also allowed Tulsa 23 first downs and over 450 yards of total offense. Cincinnati had 28 first downs and over 500 yards of total offense and BYU had 34 first downs and over 650 yards of total offense.

UCF fans have great expectations but realize that 2017 & 2018 are long in the past.

Josh Heupel’s grade: C+

Miami: The Canes finally had a standout starting quarterback in D’Eriq King and he helped bring some of the swag back to South Florida.

The Hurricanes took strides forward from Manny Diaz changing the culture in Miami.

Miami finished 2020 with eight wins and three losses.

King was a difference maker for the Canes. He was 211 of 329 for 2,686 yards passing, 23 touchdowns, only 5 interceptions, 538 yards rushing, and 4 touchdowns.

The Hurricanes struggled against top tier ACC teams with blow out losses to Clemson (42-17) and North Carolina (62-26).

In these games, Miami was plagued with errors whether it be penalties, missed assignments, drops, or lack of effort.

The offense took a step forward, but Miami’s defense looked unmotivated, porous and undisciplined.

Despite great performances against Duke and Florida State, the defense surrendered too many yards on the ground to North Carolina (554).

They also allowed Oklahoma State’s quarterback to throw for 300 plus yards and four scores.

Manny Diaz grade: B

Recruiting Wars

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I am handing out grades to the following teams’ recruiting classes following the early Signing Period for the class of 2021.

Considering the challenges all coaches have to deal with while recruiting during the pandemic, there is plenty of praise and blame to go around for Miami, UCF and Florida State.

Recruiting has three periods: Early Signing, National Signing Day, and Transfer Portal. I’ll be looking at the Early Signing Period and Transfer Portal.

Grading any recruiting class is a subjective venture. I determine grades based on the balance of talent level that is brought in, alongside with how the class addresses needs on the roster.

Miami: The Hurricanes earned the signatures of 21 players during the first day of the Early Signing Period. When the dust settled, the Hurricanes had the 11th class in the nation and 2nd class in the ACC.

Miami put a big emphasis on locking down the best players from South Florida (15 of the 21 signees are from Miami-Dade and Broward County).

The keystones of this Hurricane class are five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor and safety James Williams.

Miami also flipped four-star quarterback Jake Garcia from USC. The Hurricanes still need to add a couple more offensive linemen and cornerbacks. I’m giving Miami an A-.

UCF: The Knights had 19 players sign and one transfer. The Knights rank 61st Nationally and 4th in the AAC.

UCF focused on the defensive side of the ball with 11 defensive players signing.

Anthony Hundley signed with the Knights after decommitting from LSU.  The Miami native had offers from Florida State, Michigan and Ole’ Miss.

Mikey Keene became the third quarterback to sign with the Knights since Josh Heupel took over. The Arizona native passed for 5,089 yards and 47 touchdowns during his time at Chandler High School.

Former Virginia quarterback RJ Harvey transferred to the Knights; however, he will play at running back.

UCF is a program unlike the others in this article, their recruiting budget is 1/10th that of the other schools. The Knights will add a few more pieces in February and use the Transfer Portal to fill out their class, but the grade for the Knights is C+.

Florida State: The Seminole fans hoping that the football program was going to take a dramatic, positive turn in the first year under new head coach Mike Norvell were in for a rude reality check.

The prized newcomer for the Seminoles won’t be a freshman, but rather, former UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton. If Milton is healthy, this is a talented game changer for Florida State.

This is the first class in modern day FSU history that has not included a five-star player.

In addition, the Seminoles only have one player ranked inside the top 250.

Norvell is very clearly trying to revamp the FSU defense with 10 of their 16 commits on that side of the ball.

Hunter Washington is the Seminole’s highest ranked recruit, and he is a bit undersized at 5 foot 11 and 175 pounds. Hunter Washington, Malik McClain, Shambre Jackson, Omarion Cooper, Rod Orr and Patrick Payton anchor Novell’s second class.

Florida State ranks 22nd Nationally and 4th in the ACC.

The Seminoles have a lot of work ahead of them to raise the talent level of their roster. Norvell must utilize the Transfer Portal. My grade for Florida State would be a D- but the arrival of McKenzie Milton alone raises it to a B-.

Florida Recruiting Wars

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

With the Early Signing Period less than a month away, I want to look at the Big Three in Florida’s potential recruiting classes for 2021.

The Current ranking for the Miami Hurricanes is 13th in the nation and fourth in the ACC with 21 commits.

The Canes currently have 1 running back, 5 receivers, 3 offensive linemen, 4 defensive linemen, 3 linebackers, 2 defensive backs, 2 athletes and 1 kicker.

Coach Diaz has done an excellent job of keeping the top talent in South Florida to commit to Miami.

Leonard Taylor, the number two player in the state and ninth nationally, is the anchor to an outstanding class. The Canes have commitments for three of the five heralded players from Miami Palmetto (Taylor, Bashard Smith WR, and Savion Collins DE).

Miami has 19 current commits from the State of Florida and 16 of the 19 are from South Florida.

Key players in this class: James Williams 5-star safety, Romello Brinson high 4-star wide receiver and Laurence Seymore 4-star offensive guard.

Miami needs to find a quarterback, two or three more offensive linemen and 3 or 4 more defensive backs.

When the dust settles after the early signing period, I predict the Canes will be in position for a top 10 class.

The Florida State Seminoles are currently ranked 28th and in the ACC with 15 commits.

The Seminoles currently have 1 quarterback, 4 receivers, 3 offensive linemen, 3 defensive linemen, 1 linebacker and 3 defensive backs.

Coach Norvell must think he is still at Memphis with the star power of the current class. FSU (Five Star U) has ZERO five stars in this class, four 4-stars and eleven 3-stars.

The Seminoles only have six recruits from the State of Florida.

The disaster on the field has affected recruiting. If Norvell wants to be competitive on the field it starts with recruiting top players in the States of Florida and Georgia.

Norvell may want to utilize the transfer portal this season to acquire some talented players who are dissatisfied with their current situation. The current roster has six five-stars and a top 10 composite ranking but only two wins on the field.

The Seminoles need to add 4 to 5 offensive linemen, 2 receivers, 3 defensive linemen and 2 defensive backs. Norvell sure looks to have his work cut out for him.

FSU will finish the 2021 with a class ranked around 25th. Maybe FSU fans are wishing they didn’t fire Willie so quickly!

The University of Florida Gators are currently ranked seventh in the nation and fourth in the SEC with 26 commits.

The Gators have 2 quarterbacks, 6 receivers, 5 offensive lineman, 5 defensive linemen, 2 linebackers, 5 defensive backs, and 1 athlete.

When Dan Mullen arrived in Gainesville, he was not known as a top recruiter but he had made smart hires. The Gators will carry over the success on the field into recruiting.

The Gators snagged the two remaining players for Miami Palmetto in Jason Marshall and Corey Collier. The Gators currently have 18 commits from Florida and 3 from Georgia.

Florida may have lost a commitment from 4-star linebacker Chief Borders out of Franklin, GA to Sanford.

Players to watch for commitment are 4-star linebacker Xavian Sorey and 4-star safety Terrion Arnold out of Tallahassee, it’s a Florida – Alabama battle for both players.

The Gators are in good shape to finish with a top 10 class. My prediction is they will have the sixth ranked class in the nation.

Florida is one of the richest recruiting states in the country, and if the Big Three want to stay in the Big Three, they must recruit the State of Florida first.